American Film Institute, Los Angeles
Graduate students in AFI's production-based program make 4-10 films in two years under the guidance of master filmmakers led by artistic director James L. Brooks. AFI alumni number 4,500, with an impressive 81% of them working in some capacity in the biz.
The school, educating emerging artists for over 80 years, features private editing suites, Surround Sound recording and a 5,000-sq.-ft. stage with a cyclorama and green-screen digital compositing equipment. Film department chair is "Rush Hour" scribe Ross LaManna.
Boston U., Boston
Each year, roughly 200 students take part in BU's semester-long L.A.-based internship program during which they can choose to focus on advertising & public relations, film & television, entertainment management or Los Angeles studies. In the past students have held internships at "Conan," E! network and Universal. Also in development on the Boston campus is an advanced level, 18-month MFA program in production, directing and cinematography set to launch fall 2015.
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia
The School of Film/Video promotes studies in all major genres of filmmaking, from dramatic narrative to experimental live-action. In 2006, CalArts earned the distinction of being the only American film school to be honored with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Chapman U., Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Orange, Calif.
One of Dodge College's most popular curriculum picks is its filmmaker-in-residence program. Featured as this year's mentor is "Miss Congeniality" helmer Donald Petrie, who will work one-on-one with select students for the 2014 spring semester. Past filmmakers-in-residence have included directors Betty Thomas, Jonathan Sanger and Richard Benjamin.
Colorado Film School, Denver
The mile-high school offers degree and certificate courses in such disciplines as screenwriting, producing and directing, and built a high-tech 4,000-sq.-ft. main studio containing a cyclorama, a green screen for special effects and a $300,000 computerized lighting grid.
Columbia U. School of the Arts, New York
In 2012, alumna Katharina Otto-Bernstein (1) ("Beautopia") donated $5 million to create a state-of-the art screening room in the grad school's new arts building scheduled for completion in 2016. Other successful film school alums include "Frozen" co-writer and director Jennifer Lee and Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker").
Columbia College Chicago
Should students in the arts and media program tire of the cutting-edge filmmaking facilities in the heart of the great Windy City, they may opt for a five-week educational immersion program in L.A. held at the Raleigh Studios lot, where they can sample a taste of the business side of Hollywood.
Emerson COLLEGE Visual & Media Arts School, Boston
Shepherded by "Friends" creator, Emerson alum and founding director Kevin Bright (2), Emerson Los Angeles recently built a state-of-the-art residential facility on Sunset Boulevard that will provide students completing semester-long internships in Hollywood with access to a multi-purpose event space, audio post-production rooms, and an executive screening room.
Florida State U., College of Motion Picture Arts, Tallahassee